The VVA Veteran® Online

July/August 2016

Andrew Rodriguez & Uncle Henry: Mapping VVA


photo: Jane PhillipsAndrew Rodriguez, 10, has been collecting VVA state council pins that he receives from his great-uncle, New Mexico State Council President Henry Urioste, for the past three years. Urisote served from 1965-67 in Vietnam and has served as state council president since 2012. At first, he collected pins for himself. Some he purchased; others people gave to him for his hat. Mostly, he collected them at VVA Leadership Conferences and National Conventions.

But then his goal changed, and Urioste started passing them on to his great-nephew Andrew, who is also known by his nickname, Kung Fu. The Aspen Community Magnet student will enter the fifth grade in the fall. His favorite subjects are math, social studies, and science. He loves to play football and basketball, and to draw.

Rodriguez took it upon himself to draw a map of the United States and attach the pins he has collected. Currently he has state council pins from twenty-two states. His goal is to collect pins from all fifty. He’s missing pins from North and South Dakota, Utah, Texas, Hawaii, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, Michigan, North and South Carolina, Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Idaho, and Illinois.

He’s a bright student who hopes to get a scholarship to a private school when he enters seventh grade in Santa Fe. He loves learning from Uncle Henry, who also gave him a pin from Juan L. Jacquez, the only POW from Santa Fe. Jacquez was captured on October 6, 1972, and released on March 29, 1973.

Even though school is out for the summer, Andrew Rodriguez will continue this project until he collects pins from all the states.

photo: Jane Phillips

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